IMCGB Ministers Conference
IMCGB Ministries of Excellence Conference:
Towards Meaningful Transformation
Saturday 18th April 2015
Yes! That’s IMCGB’s theme for 2015: Towards Meaningful Transformation.
Our Conference was held at Angel Community Centre, Raynham Road, London N18 2JF, and opened in relaxed and joyful vein with reverent worship led by vocalists, Pastor Collins Okoloise, at the keyboard, and Pastor Ena Gustave both from Dominion Faith Chapel International, joined later in the programme by Miss Uchenna Obika of Bible Study Network Christian Centre. Our Secretary General and Presiding Bishop, Rt. Rev. Onye Obika, led our delegates in powerful prayers.
Rev. Dr. Deborah Etim, Senior Minister of The Prayer Forum, relayed to us messages she had received from the Lord for the Body of Christ and the IMCGB. Here are extracts from her message:
The Lord says, “Pray for the great and terrible Day of the Lord. Pray for the whole earth, for no-one will stand in that Day. Turn to me and rend your hearts.” (Joel 2:11-13) “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still. … He that is holy, let him be holy still. … Behold, I come quickly!” (Revelation 22:11-15) Jesus has three seasons: Born on earth as Messiah; crucified as Saviour of the world; time to rule as Judge.
IMCGB is a God-given vision: a gift to further the work of God. Ministers should love, trust and fear God and pray for the IMCGB leaders. Spend time praying about each step our Churches take. The Lord looks at who is attached and related to Him, not how big the Church is.
Rt. Rev. Collin Maloney, Head of IMCGB’s Charismatic Impact, delivered a lively and encouraging exhortation. His text, Revelation 3:8, the words of the risen Lord Jesus to the Church in Philadelphia, “I know thy works; behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it,” had claimed his constant attention as the message for this conference. We are moving Towards Meaningful Transformation because God has set before us an open door.
“Behold” translates a word that means we are to quickly look and take note because there has been a sudden change of scene. God has suddenly changed our situation by setting before us an open door! As when Abraham, about to sacrifice his son Isaac, heard the angel’s voice and, looking up, saw a ram caught in a thicket. Behold! There is something there! Redirect your attention to it! Perhaps you have laboured for years and had many doors shut and not reaped fruits for your labour. Have we lost our potency? No! God has set before us an open door and is about to usher us into something dynamic, something explosive.
This Council, IMCGB, is an open door. I have read Pentecostalism and Immigration, the history of how it started and the struggles of those days. Read it! We must know our roots. Today’s problems are different. The Council is an open door. An open door brings opportunity. This door is already open, transitioning us from one place to another. God is giving us a new opportunity. Ministers who are discouraged, look up!
Have you heard of the Middle Passage, plied by ships which went from UK to Africa to take on board slaves to sell at market in the West Indies. On the way to the New World, many ships were becalmed in the doldrums with no wind to drive them forward – a time of depression, listlessness, stagnation – drifting, going nowhere. Has IMCGB experienced a spiritual doldrums? It was a time of testing to prove you! Focus on your destiny. The wind of the Holy Ghost will drive us to our destiny. God is about to fill our sails. Let no mental barriers prevent you. Walk through the open door.
I know I am where God wants me to be: in IMCGB. Archbishop David Douglas in his address to Churches in Nigeria said, “What are the objectives of coming together? To be a voice instead of voices: a voice that cannot be ignored.” (Pentecostalism and Immigration p 145) IMCGB is to be a true Pentecostal voice in this country. The enemy wants to silence the witness of the Church. The voice of IMCGB is not afraid to say, “Thus saith the Lord …” Take the step of faith. Marathon runners hit “the wall” – a barrier of mental and physical fatigue. Athletes need fortitude to refuse to stop. Beyond this hurdle there is victory!
In their respective addresses on Church Governance in relation to charity law and Charitable Incorporated Organisations, Rt. Rev. Onye Obika, IMCGB’s Secretary General and Presiding Bishop, and Rt. Rev. Sheila Douglas, IMCGB’s Honorary President, were supported by Mr. Ade Adeolu, Immigration Consultant at Lonsdale and Mayall Solicitors, and Miss Lola Odofin, Compliance Manager at Lonsdale and Mayall Solicitors.
Bishop Obika reminded us that all our churches have the status of “charity”. They are set up for the benefit of the community. We may therefore have some benefits: for example tax benefits in the form of Gift Aid if we meet certain conditions. He asked: What is your governing document? How and when do you use it? It is relevant at all times. It tells you what ministries you can do. He challenged us that we should know what our governing document says and not file it in a drawer. We should know what are our objects, what are our powers and who are our beneficiaries. We must be able to show who benefited from our work in the past year and how; what services we are providing and how these are of benefit to the community. We should be able to make use of our governing document to help us run our church meeting according to accepted procedures and handle finance correctly.
Mr. Ade Adeolu spoke, giving examples, of Church leaders’ responsibility to know what it is the governing document allows them to do and avoid exceeding those limits.
Bishop Douglas explained that a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organization) is a new form of charity, governed by laws and regulations, and suitable for Church organizations. A CIO can do things a company can do: such as own land and property in its own name and employ staff; have limited or, (unlike a company) no, liability. Unlike a company, CIOs do not register with Companies House, will not be fined for administrative errors and may produce simpler receipts and payments accounts. There are two kinds of CIO, depending on whether voting rights belong to trustees only or to a wider membership. The Charity Commission’s model constitutions are very helpful.
During the question and answer session, Mr. Ade Adeolu and Miss Lola Odofin were able to draw on their wide experience and understanding of the circumstances within which Churches operate, to clarify many questions raised by delegates. The Bishops and Ministers extend their gratitude for their presence with us and the valuable contribution they have made.
Thanks is due to Rev. George Sarfo-Duah, Moderator for the conference, members of the International Full Gospel Catholic Fellowship who provided refreshments, Rev. Johnson Akeju and other members of the Planning Committee who surmounted difficulties beyond their control concerning the venue, and put in place and carried out this Ministries of Excellence Conference, warm in fellowship, powerful in prayer and extremely valuable in information and discussion. An experience to remember!
Report by Bishop Sheila Douglas. 23rd April 2015